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Local Special Ed Teacher Wins National Wrestling Title

Chad Otterness won the USA Wrestling Masters Division D 70kg championship
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 10:55 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Wrestling and special education are a pair that don’t seem like they’d go together. But for JM’s Chad Otterness, he says his students inspire him.

“When I see them work as hard as they do, when they have certain particular limitations, that always tells me if they have that drive and fire to overcome their obstacles, then there’s no reason I can’t continue to work,” Otterness said.

Talk to Otterness, and there’s no doubt he has a fire in his belly. He says some of his students display that same fire -- and that helps him want to stay on top of his craft.

“We’ve had some very competitive kids in my class that have played, they’ve been involved in Special Olympics, adaptive floor hockey, adaptive softball, and their love of competition has been higher than almost any other athletes I’ve been around because their desire to win really stands out,” he said. “They will go at lengths to be successful.”

Otterness says he works out two to three times a day, and watches his diet to ensure he performs at his best. He also serves as an assistant coach at John Marshall, which keeps him ready to go.

“When you’re coaching, oftentimes I’ve been in the role of showing moves and demonstrating technique,” he said. “It reinforces a lot of good habits.”

Although he is a teacher, Otterness is still learning. He says wrestling has helped make education a lifelong process.

“I think it teaches me about patience and discipline, believing in yourself, and trusting in what you are doing,” Otterness said. “It’s become a fabric of what I do. I always work out. I always want to stay in shape because I know the benefits of being in good shape, in good health will lead to more positive life outcomes.”

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